If you’re an SI, MSP, MSSP, ISV or VAR that seeks to sell more by improving marketing and lead generation, a step-change is likely needed to convert wins to growth.
For most B2B companies that sell high-value, complex products and services (such as high-end professional services, enterprise software and commercial financial services), there’s a point when initial sales momentum will begin to fade. For many companies, sales growth has happened organically through effective business networking, client referrals and word of mouth. Additional marketing efforts are often ad hoc, inconsistent and driven by best intentions, but rarely followed through.
Opportunities might continue to flow in during these initial stages of growth when you don’t perceive a need for “proper marketing”, but sales numbers can mask a deeper problem. The business will inevitably grow to a point when it’s simply not possible to scale up one-to-one marketing activities and generate the kind of qualified opportunities needed to feed a growing number of mouths.
This is the tipping point. If it’s approaching and you recognize it, you have the opportunity to course correct. You can implement a more systematic, repeatable and corporate approach to marketing early, which can begin opening new avenues for customers to find you.
Unfortunately many companies don’t act until more passive lead generation has stalled and sales begin declining.
For B2B firms, a proactive approach means switching on PR and digital marketing in a programmatic way to ensure leads are being generated around the clock, and moved through a qualification and nurture process at scale. At this point, the strategic question for many companies is: “Do we buy or build this capability?”
Building a marketing competency in-house makes sense. It seems relatively affordable and manageable and you invest in broader corporate competency.
Here are two ways most companies build in-house marketing capability:
- Hire an inexpensive, junior marketer with limited experience.
- Hire an expensive senior strategist with lots of very relevant industry and business experience.
A junior marketer is inexpensive, usually a “digital native” and should be great at making digital marketing tools work and driving day to day marketing activity. But junior marketers tend to lack business experience and customer knowledge, so they have limited ability to make informed judgments.
When these problems arise, executives that were trying to scale their marketing find themselves bottlenecked and often also realize that the junior marketing person is relying on their direction. Marketing is in most cases not an executive’s forte or focus, so the company finds themselves back at square one.
This can also be disillusioning for the junior marketer, who finds they aren’t being mentored or developed properly, while senior executives complain about the quality and speed of work, and level of supervision required.
A proven senior marketer will bring a more comprehensive skillset and value to most organizations. They can build an aligned marketing strategy to support business objectives, work on complex buyer personas, develop messaging, collect customer insights, work on customer experience and manage a whole host of important projects.
However, most senior resources worth hiring will not want to work at a granular level to produce campaigns. They did that kind of work earlier in their career and it’s not where their interest lies. In fact, many are not familiar with the specifics of emerging digital marketing tools, other than at a planning and strategy level.
For managing directors and CEOs of emerging companies, trying to grow their brand becomes a recruitment quagmire, with a growing list of dependencies.
The solution many leading companies come to after a lot of back and forth is to outsource.
Compelling reasons for outsource marketing:
- Cost. Outsourced marketing is usually priced variably, depending on business needs. Generally, activity can be scaled up and down to match cost forecasting plans, product launches and other business realities. There is no fixed salary cost and no specialist platforms to be purchased to support the marketing function.
- Scale. No single person could hope to be an expert in every marketing area, including web development, design, content writing, marketing automation optimization, email marketing, search and social marketing. Outsourcing marketing gives you access to a whole team for the same price you’d be paying for one salary. The team provides concentrated domain knowledge and the ability to scale marketing on demand, without the cost of hiring individual experts in each discipline. The best integrated agencies bring a diverse program team of marketing specialists together to build and execute any type of innovative campaign.
- Expertise. A proven outsourced marketing partner has a high-level roadmap and broader outlook based on their work with other B2B firms. They will know what’s likely to work in the market, and offer guidance based on real world learnings to avoid reinventing solutions or making the same mistakes as those who came before.
- Simplicity. It’s easier to manage an outsourced team. Working with a paid supplier means you should expect to receive proactive, structured communication, expert counsel and a great customer experience. A single point of primary contact helps you manage your programs efficiently, and you should be able to be all-in or hands off with collaboration, depending on your bandwidth.
- Risk reduction. Your outsourced marketing partner will scale up marketing efforts in line with the growth of your business, taking on the inherent cost and risk of marketing programs while you focus on what matters most to you.
If your B2B firm is at the marketing tipping point and you want to know how marketing-as-a-managed service could help, learn more about Outsource’s services here.